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Coaching legend Giovanni Trapattoni at 70

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Coaching legend Giovanni Trapattoni at 70

Postby FCBayernNews » Mon Mar 16, 2009 11:45 pm

Former FCB coach Giovanni Trapattoni turns 70 on Tuesday, but the Italian has no intention of retiring just yet: the Maestro is seeking to guide Ireland to the 2010 World Cup finals and expand his astonishing coaching record - 22 trophies make him one of the world's most decorated coaches.

Trapattoni's birthday coincides happily with St. Patrick's Day, but his attention will be focused on Ireland's next qualifier in two weeks time, when a win would be the best imaginable present, as the Irish could leapfrog World Cup holders Italy into top spot.

"It's tremendous to be facing Italy. It's an honour. Obviously it'll be an odd situation for me, because I'm proud to call myself Italian. But I'm a pro, and proud to be Ireland coach too. It won't be a problem," Trap recently told FIFA.com.

Born in Cusano Milanino on 17 March 1939, Trapattoni started his medal collection as a player. A defender for AC Milan, he won European honours three times, the championship twice and the cup once. He represented Italy at the 1960 Olympics and 1962 World Cup, scoring one goal in a total of 17 appearances.

Two trophies with Bayern

The Mister began his second career as a coach in 1972 with the Milan youth section. He was an instant and explosive hit, leading Juventus to six championships, the European Cup and the World Club Cup in the decade after 1976. He later switched to Inter, where he coached a team featuring Lothar Matthäus, Andreas Brehme and Jürgen Klinsmann to the Serie A title and the UEFA Cup.

Trapattoni was a success outside Italy too. In a second stint at the Bayern helm, he won the league in 1996-7 and the cup a year later. Under his command, Benfica won the Portuguese championship in 2005, and Red Bull Salzburg claimed the Austrian league title in 2007. A less glorious spell at VfB Stuttgart ended in his dismissal after just seven months in 2006.

Fiery temper

However, he was to be denied any major triumph as boss of his beloved Italy. After succeeding Dino Zoff, Trapattoni's team fell in the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals, and failed to survive the group stages at EURO 2004 in Portugal. The Italian association declined to renew his contract.

Trapattoni will remain forever a legend in Germany for a famous outburst as Bayern coach on 10 March 1998, as he exploded with venom and frustration towards what he perceived as an underperforming team. The eruption, during which Trap's famously suspect German became even more comically mangled, was delivered to a packed press conference - and recorded on camera for posterity.

Eleven years down the track, the Maestro dismisses the notion of drawing a well-earned pension. "You leave these things in the hands of God. I'm thankful I'm still healthy and motivated enough to keep working," Trapattoni has stated. The only pressure he feels is home-made. "My wife keeps asking: 'When will you give up? When will you give up?' And I always reply: 'Later!' She's trying to prise me away from football, but she's not very successful." To one of the greats of the game: Happy birthday Mister, very best wishes Trap.
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